Going to BC Provincial Court? New Resources For You.

Handouts contain short bit.ly URLs that forward to the Common Question page where the resources are accessible and the handout is available as a shareable PDF download

You may be familiar with Clicklaw’s Common Questions. While you can use Clicklaw’s search and navigation to narrow down resources, sometimes it’s easier to get help picking a few to start with. This is where the Common Questions come in.

We have been working with Judge Ann Rounthwaite of the BC Provincial Court and the Clicklaw Editorial Committee to come up with 3 new special Common Question pages to help you get started with different matters in Provincial Court:

The lists are not exhaustive of all the resources available on these topics. If we included everything possibly out there, it would be much longer than a handy one-pager. We aimed for a mix of helpful basics but also resources that included practical tips for the courtroom.

Check out new resources from the BCPC

The handouts also include some great new resources from the BC Provincial Court. For example, “Preparing for a Family Court Trial in Provincial Court” provides helpful information on Evidence at a Family Court Trial, and what facts can be relevant for your trial depending on what type of Application you are making. See more here.

Everyone is welcome to download, print and share these handouts: judges, court staff, advocates, settlement workers, librarians, and even lawyers who would like to help their clients better understand the court process now have an easy starting point to direct to. If you are a Self-Represented Litigant, this is a good place to begin. Check it out!

Supreme Court Family Law Forms: New Fillable Forms from the Legal Services Society

flws thumbnailMore help with filling out Supreme Court family forms is now available from the Legal Services Society’s Family Law website. LSS now features 23 new and improved Supreme Court family law forms in a fillable Word format available on the LSS Family Law in BC website. These new forms, such as the Notice of Joint Family Claim, allow you to add and save your own information into the forms and give some instructions on how to fill them out.

You can find these forms through Clicklaw on the LSS Court Forms page. The forms were created in the last few months and were refined and tested to be used in a range of family law cases, including divorces, changing child support, or changing parenting arrangements. To provide further help with filling out these forms , LSS has also created instructions and tips that will help you fill out your forms quickly and correctly. Some of the more complicated forms also have additional, more detailed instructions and tips.

If you need more assistance with your court forms, LSS also provides a list of organizations that will provide more hands-on support.

These forms were created with funding from The Law Foundation of BC.

A Death in Your Family – A Clicklaw Wikibook Produced by People’s Law School

A Death in Your FamilyWhether expected or unexpected, a death in the family is always an emotionally charged event that involves a considerable amount of last minute arrangements, both logistical and legal, that family members must attend to. 

For example, you may wonder if there is a prescribed time to dispose of a body or who should you first notify of your loved one’s death?  Is an autopsy automatically performed?  What is the coroner’s role in this situation?  Also, you may be wondering how to honor a loved one’s wish to donate their organs to science.  Answers to all of these questions and more are now available in a comprehensive wikibook,  A Death in Your Family, published by the People’s Law School.   This resource was first published in 2007 and was available in PDF format until its wikibook release.  For more information on wikibook features, see Clicklaw Wikibooks

Clicklaw features a Common Question that also addresses this topic – What legal issues do I need to attend to when a family member dies?  It includes links to resources on making funeral arrangements, obtaining death certificates as well as guidelines on some of the costs involved.

Canadian Environment Week – Things To Know About The Use Of Pesticides

Use of pesticidesJune 2-8 is Canadian Environment Week and cities across the country are gearing up for activities to mark the occasion. Some of us may be taking the green route and biking to work, while others will be revisiting their local parks. As tradition goes, many of us will be rolling up our sleeves to commence spring cleaning. With a wide assortment of cleansers and detergents on the market today it may be worth taking a moment to consider the chemical components of cleaning supplies and what impact they have on our environment. 

If you have concerns about everyday chemical usage or pesticides you may want to take a look at the work done by West Coast Environmental Law. West Coast Environmental Law is an organization dedicated to advocating for environment-related issues through law. It offers legal advice, educational programs and advocacy for BC citizens seeking information on protecting our environment.  

West Coast Environment features a number of useful information resources dealing with pesticides, including Pesticides and Your Health, Pesticides in Your Home and A Citizen’s Guide to Pesticide Use and the Law in BC, all of which you can find on Clicklaw.

The ABC’s of Drinking & Driving Offences

Wondering about drinking and driving laws?  How much alcohol in your system makes it okay for you to drive?  Drinking and driving legislation is a very complex area of law, where both provincial (BC Motor Vehicle Act) and federal statutes (Criminal Code of Canada) apply, depending on the circumstances. 

 The British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association features a recently updated Dial-a-law script titled Drinking & Driving that outlines the rights and responsibilities of someone who is stopped by the police and suspected of driving under the influence.

 Essentially, if you do drink and drive you can face three serious criminal charges:

 (a) displaying blood-alcohol level of over .08 or over eighty

 (b) demonstrating impaired driving due to alcohol or drug consumption, and

 (c) refusing to provide a breath sample without a lawful excuse. 

 What to do if you are charged with a drinking & driving offence , a guide published by LSS, is a good starting point for those interested in what happens when someone is charged with drinking and driving under the Criminal Code.   In summary, this guide explains the type of charges that apply, offers a checklist of what the prosecution must prove in court, outlines the steps involved in defending  yourself in court and what sentence one can expect if found guilty. 

 Both guides emphasize the complicated nature of drinking and driving offences and encourage clients to seek legal advice when necessary.

Living on welfare

As you may have heard, Jagrup Brar, MLA Surrey Fleetwood, will spend the first month of the new year living on welfare. Having accepted Raise the Rates Coalition’s MLA Welfare Challenge, Brar’s budget for Janurary 2012 will be $610 – the welfare rate set for a single person considered employable. According to Raise the Rates, the goal of the Challenge is to raise public awareness around welfare rates and poverty.

If you are applying for, or are living on welfare, it is important to know your rights and what to expect.

Clicklaw can help you get started by helping with these common questions:

I have to go on welfare. What do I need to know before I apply?

I’m going to the interview for welfare. What do I need to know?  


Also, if you live on a reserve, be sure to get started with:

How is welfare different on and off reserve?


November: Adoption Awareness month

This month provides an opportunity to celebrate and promote awareness about adoption.

Adoption in BC is governed by a provincial law called the Adoption Act. Anyone who lives permanently in BC can apply to adopt, including opposite- and same-sex couples.

There are four different types of adoptions:

  • placement by the director of adoption (who works for the Ministry of Children and Family Development),
  • placement by an adoption agency,
  • direct placement (when the birth parent places a child with a non-relative), and
  • relative adoption (adoption by a relative or step-parent).

Want to learn more?

A good place to start is with Clicklaw’s commonly asked questions:q+a icon

The TRAC Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre needs your feedback!

Are you working with members of the community who might be using the Tenant Survival Guide?

Perhaps you use it yourself?

If so, please take a moment to complete TRAC’s 2-question survey and spread the word to your community.

The Tenant Survival Guide is a plain-language guide that offers tenants a basic understanding of residential tenancy law in BC. It is designed to educate readers on their rights and responsibilities and help prevent or resolve any problems they may encounter during their tenancy.

The Guide is produced by TRAC, a nonprofit organization that provides tenants with legal education and information about residential tenancy law. For more information about how to order a hard copy, click here.

TRAC Executive Director Nicky Dunlop says that TRAC’s survey is designed to determine how people use  this comprehensive guide .

For follow-up information stay tuned to TRAC on Facebook and Twitter. Or, check out TRAC’s website.

Also, for more information about tenancy, rentals, and landlords, take a peek at these great resources on Clicklaw!

Join FIPA in celebrating Right to Know Week!

During this week of September 26 – 30 the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) is hosting two exciting Right to Know Week events in Vancouver: a 20-year FIPA anniversary party and fundraiser on the 28th and an FOI Workshop on the 29th. For details, click here.

There are a host of events going on across BC, as well as across Canada. Check out the Right to Know Week Website for more information.

This is the sixth year that Canadians have celebrated Right to Know (RTK) Week. It was created to increase awareness about their right of access to government information, and it highlights the essential role freedom of information plays in democracy and good governance.    

Want to learn more about freedom of information and privacy? Check out these resources on Clicklaw!

Clicklaw and the Just a Click Away initiative

Now available on Clicklaw: check out the final conference report recently released by Just a Click Away!just a click away

Coordinated by Courthouse Libraries BC, and supported with funding from the Access to Justice Fund (administered by the Law Foundation of Ontario), Just a Click Away, is an initiative to enhance how technology can be used to deliver legal education and information to the public in Canada.

As part of the second stage in the initiative, the Clicklaw public legal education and information (PLEI) portal website was featured in a webinar that explains how it provides access to PLEI to British Columbians. To access the webinars, click here.

The final stage of the initiative was the two-day intensive national conference in Vancouver held this past February. The conference was aimed at those who provide and support public legal education and information, and want to improve how the Internet and emerging technologies can be used to deliver PLEI. The conference featured such themes as best practices for PLEI websites, evaluation of online PLEI, and using social media and web 2.0 technologies.